A £200,000 project that will boost the recovery of Stirling’s tourism sector from the Covid-19 pandemic has been given the green light.

The ambitious scheme will transform the visitor experience in the city centre through the development of digital and physical signs, wayfinding and *augmented reality (AR) assets. 

It will also link in to other local communities and attractions like the iconic National Wallace Monument, one of the jewels in Scotland’s tourism crown.

The project is based on feedback set out in a number of local plans that involved public consultation, including: **Making Stirling a Dementia Friendly City – A Citizen Led Places and Spaces Project, the City Centre Action Plan and the Tourism and Events Action Plan.

Members of the Council’s Finance and Economy Committee approved the scheme last Thursday (17 June) as part of a £735,000 package of investments, following the awarding of a grant from the Scottish Government’s Place Based Investment Programme (PBIP).

The other initiatives to be approved were: 

  • Improvements worth £385,000 to the Albert Halls venue in Stirling.
  • A £150,000 grant scheme which will allow third parties to bid for funding for projects that closely meet the PBIP aims, objectives and conditions.

Regular updates, an annual report on the investment performance and any further grants made will be brought before the committee.

Ensuring Stirling bounces back

Convener of the committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “This decision shows our commitment to support the recovery of our historic and vibrant city centre from the pandemic, ensuring Stirling bounces back and continues to be a must-visit destination.

“Stirling is home to world-famous attractions such as the National Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle and a diverse range of other top tourism assets, and we will bring this all together better than ever using the latest technology.

“These investments will also help us achieve our goal to make Stirling an inclusive and Dementia Friendly City by improving accessibility for everybody, especially those living with dementia and their carers.”

The main objectives of the PBIP are to ensure investments are shaped by the needs and aspirations of the local communities, accelerating ambitions for place, 20-minute neighbourhoods, town centre action, community-led regeneration and community wealth building.

Drive regeneration and economic growth

Vice Convener, Cllr Alison Laurie said: “Tourism is a key driver of Stirling economy, supporting thousands of jobs across the area, so it’s important we invest in a sector that has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

“We have made the decision to focus on a smaller selection of projects as previous experiences of similar schemes showed it was challenging to deliver them all in a short timescale.

“These major investments will help drive regeneration and economic growth and there will also be an opportunity for communities and groups to apply for funding for local projects, and we will provide details on this in due course.”

Background info: 

*Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology

**Stirling Council started developing initiatives to support its dementia friendly aspirations in 2019, which are aimed at improving the accessibility of the City Centre for residents, workers and visitors. A report (Making Stirling a Dementia Friendly City – A Citizen Led Places and Spaces Project) was commissioned as part of that work to provide expert insight and clear recommendations. The project conducted a series of audits on public buildings, spaces and routes in between them. This included Stirling Bus Station, Albert Halls and other city centre properties.

  1. Stirling Council serves 94,330 residents and a thriving business community in an area stretching from the scenic Campsie Fells to Stirling’s vibrant city centre and the imposing Trossachs Mountains. Located within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the area features breath-taking scenery and some of Scotland’s top visitor attractions including the Castle and Wallace Monument which are testimony to Stirling fascinating past. Our vision is to deliver more agile and responsive services and work with our employees, partners and communities for the benefit of all.  The Council is committed to building on Stirling’s strong reputation as a business and investment location by positioning the area as an economic and cultural powerhouse.